California Vegetation Climate Change Exposure and Refugia

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This dataset is available on the Department of Fish & Wildlife's Biogeographic Information and Observation System (BIOS)

Basic Information

This dataset contains the results of the climate change exposure analysis conducted as part of a state-wide vulnerability assessment of California's terrestrial vegetation.

Assessment of vulnerability to climate change is the analysis of the extent to which a species, habitat, or ecosystem is susceptible to harm from climate change impacts. Vulnerability is defined as a function of the sensitivity of a particular species or system to climate changes, its exposure to those changes, and its capacity to adapt to those changes (See Glick et. al. 2011 and our article on the Climate Commons for more about vulnerability assessments). This vulnerability assessment was conducted to support implementation of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife's State Wildlife Action Plan and other conservation management efforts.

For this assessment, 31 natural vegetation macrogroups were identified, covering 99.87% of the state’s natural terrestrial vegetation. Climate change exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability analyses were conducted on 29 macrogroups and partial analyses were conducted on two macrogroups. Biological traits of the dominant species comprising each macrogroup were evaluated to estimate sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the vegetation to changes in climate. Exposure to changing climate that each vegetation type is projected to experience was estimated at the locations it currently occupies based on projections from two global climate models (GCMs) and two emission scenarios that were selected to represent a range of future conditions for California by the end of the 21st century. An additional analysis estimated the spatial disruption, or movement that will be required to depart areas no longer climatically suitable or to establish in newly suitable areas. The scores were combined to provide a vulnerability ranking, expressed as a % value, that is cross-comparable among the terrestrial vegetation types. The exposure scores, presented here as a raster dataset, are considered the most useful for analysis. For analysis methodology and all analysis results, including the vulnerability scores, please see the project report: A Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of California’s Terrestrial Vegetation.

The layers available are the combinations of four GCM-RCP combos and the average values for two 30-year time periods.
They are:

Climate Model:

Year Range (30-year time range used to calculate the average values):

Also available is Vegetation Climate Exposure Refugia for the two future year ranges. The refugia are areas where the vegetation macrogroup present was identified as having low exposure to climate change across all four future climate scenarios modeled.

A metadata record with more detail about this dataset is available for download, attached to this record below.

The State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife make no representation or warranties regarding the accuracy of the data or maps. The user will not seek to hold the State or the Department liable under any circumstances for any damages with respect to any claim by the user or any third party on account of or arising from the use of data or maps.
Thorne, J.H., R.M. Boynton, A.J. Holguin, J.A.E. Stewart, & J. Bjorkman.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Climate Commons
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Date Issued: 
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